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IOC Cabinet Faces a Reshuffling

May 03, 1987|MORLEY MYERS | United Press International

LONDON — The International Olympic Committee faces a cabinet reshuffle at next month's 92nd session with President Juan Antonio Samaranch under pressure to maintain an ideological balance in the 11-man executive board.

Senior vice president Ashwini Kumar of India and Canada's Richard Pound have both completed their four-year tenures.

The situation regarding Kumar is clear cut. Having previously served on the Board, Kumar is not eligible for re-election, which means the two other vice presidents--West Germany's Berthold Beitz and Belgium's Prince Alexandre de Merode--move up a rung.

However, Pound's future conjures an intriguing scenario for the IOC's May meeting in Istanbul, Turkey. The 45-year-old Montreal attorney plays a vital role on the IOC revenue front, being heavily involved in broadcasting and sponsorship contract negotiations as well as serving as vice president of the commission of new sources of financing.

Given Pound's valuable input, it is almost certain he will be installed as third vice president, a move that would lead him to the senior vice presidency in 1988, when Beitz and Prince de Merode complete their four-year terms.

The timing could be favorable for the former Olympic swimmer, whom many see as heir apparent to Samaranch's crown.

Pound's high profile on the board indicates Samaranch's faith in the Canadian as a possible successor.

It is not known yet whether Samaranch, Spanish ambassador to the Soviet Union before becoming IOC president, will seek re-election in 1989.

Samaranch, who took over the IOC reins from Lord Killanin of Ireland at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, will be 69 years old when the presidential elections take place, but he is still vigorous and would almost certainly be asked to serve another term if he were to stand again.

However, he may consider the time ripe to bow out, particularly if the 1988 Seoul (South Korea) Games ends the boycott syndrome which has marred the three previous Summer Olympics.

History would then record Samaranch as the president who brought stability back to the Olympic movement if, as is expected, a boycott-free Seoul Games produces full participation at a Summer Olympics for the first time since 1972.

Samaranch might decide to leave on a high note, having steered the Olympic ship through its most troubled waters.

Pound's probable elevation to third vice president still leaves a vacancy on the executive board alongside Keba M'Baye (Senegal), Sylvio de Magalhaes Padhila (Brazil), Marc Hodler (Switzerland), Zhenliang He (China), Vitaly Smirnov (Soviet Union) and Kevan Gosper (Australia).

The presence of Zhenliang He on the board means Asia will still be represented, despite the loss of Kumar.

The three most likely contenders are Sheik Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, a member of Kuwait's ruling family, Franco Carraro of Italy and Finland's Peter Tallberg.

Sheik Fahad, who was elected to the IOC in 1981, appears to be the front-runner, already holding two major positions in the Olympic heirarchy. Re-elected as president of the Olympic Council of Asia last year, he is also vice president of the Assn. of National Olympic Committees and serves on two IOC Commissions.

An astute negotiator, the 41-year-old Kuwaiti businessman has the backing of Saudi Arabia's Prince Faisal, an invaluable ally in unifying the Middle East NOCs.

Sheik Fahad's major sporting interests are soccer and horses. He is President of the Kuwait Football Assn. and also keeps a string of racehorses in England.

Carraro, 47, vice president of the Italian airline Alitalia is another soccer man, special commissioner of the Italian League and also serving on the FIFA Board. President of the European NOCs since 1980, he was elected to the IOC two years later and is a member of the IOC Eligibility and Olympic Movement Commissions.

Tallberg, 50, a company director, is the longest-serving IOC member of the three, having being elected in 1976. An accomplished yachtsman who competed in four Olympics, Tallberg is chairman of the athletes commission and vice chairman of the program commission.

Although the 92-strong IOC membership is unlikely to be increased, the Netherlands and Colombia have to nominate successors to Cornelius Kerdel and Julio Gerlien-Comelin, who both died last year.

There is also some concern for the health of the IOC's oldest member, Bulgaria's General Vladimir Stoytchev, who celebrated his 95th birthday Tuesday. The General, who was elected to the IOC in 1955, could be replaced by Ivan Slavkov, the Bulgarian NOC president.

The IOC will also have to decide the status of the exiled former Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed M'Zali, who fled the country last year and is now living in Switzerland. Apart from certain cases, IOC members must be residents in their own country.

One member who has no problem proving his residency is General Abdel Gedir, presently spending his second year in a Sudanese jail following a political upheaval.

"The General is still a member, although we will be surprised to see him in Istanbul," an IOC official said.

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